There’s nothing quite like dancing. It gets your mind, body and soul moving to the rhythm of drums and the melodies of instruments. It courses through your body and makes you feel alive and connected to yourself. Dance has been proven to release endorphins and serotonin, the happy chemicals; it has been shown to help improve coordination, balance, improve physical fitness, toning and agility. But once you start getting into the different types of dance, you’ll see a few distinct benefits that each one gives you based on the nature of the movements. Here are some popular forms of dance and a bit about the benefits each one has.
Is there anything more classical and graceful than ballet? This dance, originated in Italy back in the 1500’s, (then spread to France by Catherine De’ Medici) focuses on poised, light and sophisticated movements of expression that honor precision. Because this type of dance is so technical, it forces the dancer to hold tension in the muscles to perform it correctly. This dance is highly athletic and helps tone and lengthen your muscles, boost your flexibility, helps improve posture, burns calories, releases endorphins, improves balance and concentration, and helps boost your confidence as well as your overall strength and stamina.
Hip hop dance is a mixture of street dance styles mainly performed to hip hop music. It is a big part of hip hop culture and is influenced by a wide range of styles that started back in the 1970’s. This style is all about emphasizing different parts of the beat with your movements and bringing your own personality and charisma to your movements and expressions. This is a high-energy style of dance and can include anything from squats to lower body movements, to jumping, flipping and more. This style of dance includes anaerobic and aerobic movements, plenty of cardio and high-intensity movements that are amazing for your heart health, your stamina, can improve bone and joint health through repeated muscle movements, can help improve your flexibility, coordination and your understanding of rhythm.
Zumba is a fusion dance that incorporates elements of latin dance, fused with moves from other dances like Caribbean, hip-hop and jazz, with the main goal of creating a party-like atmosphere and an exciting, endorphin-releasing atmosphere. This is one of the most popular forms of aerobic or fitness dance currently offered at most gyms.
These hour-long classes focus on tons of fast-paced yet easy-to-follo choreography that allows you to focus on doing the moves energetically. This makes it an amazing cardio workout, first and foremost, and toning and strength building second, based on your instructor’s style and the level of difficulty of the class.
Get ready to sweat in this class! It is great for stamina, heart health, weight loss, can help keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, is an amazing way to get your endorphins pumping, and can also help your social life, as most people are in a great mood in Zumba class, helping inspire fun interactions and team bonding. This dance also helps you with your memory, as many of the moves are symmetrical and you’ll be dancing along with the choreo after seeing it performed through just once or twice.
It’s also super popular to dress in bright, vibrant colors - this is where you can let loose and dress as tropical as you want! Think fun prints like splashy printed leggings and matching sports bras, or biker shorts and a loose-fitting top. Neon colors, tropical printed workout clothes, floral prints, tie-dye, palm prints, fruit prints and anything fun is perfect for this type of dance!
Belly dance is credited as being originally Egyptian, but is now danced throughout the middle east including Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco and other countries. It features mostly hip, belly and arm movements to create a beautiful, hypnotic motion that flows through the body like water. Common movements in this style are circles, hip drops, shimmies and figure that strengthen the joints and ligaments in the lower back and hips through a full range of gentle, repetitive motion. This is an astonishingly intense form of dance the gives your abs and core muscles an intense workout. It also requires tons of arm and wrist movements, so it also keeps your arm muscles toned and flexible. This form of dance also helps to de-stress and has even been linked to less PMS pain and helps with smoother childbirth.
Pole Fitness Dance
Pole dance, normally associated with gentlemen’s clubs and erotic dance, has now evolved into a popular form of fitness. It has transitioned into an art form that encourages feminine empowerment through movement and strength. You can now take pole fitness dance classes in gyms and dedicated studios, completely separate from its racy beginnings. Keeping your body up on the pole takes a tremendous amount of upper body and core strength. This form of fitness dance also works out your abs and lower back and pretty much your entire body as you climb, lift yourself up and do the moves. It tones your muscles, improves your flexibility, allows you to feel free and have fun, so it releases endorphins, helps you burn calories, improves balance, kinesthetic awareness, makes you more agile, and is a great aerobic workout so it helps improve your blood flow and heart rate.